Pine Bluff, AR – Pine Bluff Police Officer Kevin Collins was fatally shot in the line of duty on Monday while conducting an investigation for the Violent Crimes Unit.
Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said the shooting occurred at about 12:05 p.m. on Oct. 5.
Three officers assigned to Violent Crimes Unit were conducting an investigation when a gunfight started with at least one suspect in the parking lot of the EconoLodge on North Blake Street.
“During the exchange of gunfire, we had two officers that were struck,” Chief Sergeant told reporters at a media briefing late on Monday afternoon. “One officer was fatally wounded. One officer is right now being held at the hospital – he’s in stable condition. And then we have one officer that did not sustain any injuries.”
Officer Collins was a five-year veteran of the Pine Bluff Police Department, according to the chief.
He said that Officer Collins started out in patrol when he joined the police force in 2015 and had been assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit when he was murdered in the line of duty.
Chief Sergeant talked about how Officer Collins had worked for Metropolitan Emergency Communications Association (MECA) for a couple of years before joining the police department.
“I remember… he always had the desire to be a Pine Bluff police officer,” the chief said, struggling to keep his composure. “And he got his opportunity on June 8, 2015. And I will say when he raised his hand and swore to do his job, he became an excellent officer for the Pine Bluff Police Department.”
“This young man, once assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit, would work day in and day out to come out and try to arrest individuals that were involved in violent crimes within our community,” he said with pride in his voice as he spoke about the fallen hero. “So I can tell you at his heart, being a police officer is what Kevin wanted to do. Unfortunately today… Kevin was shot…”
Chief Sergeant said Pine Bluff Police Lieutenant Ralph Isaac, a 20-year veteran of the police force, was also shot during the gunfight but he told reporters the lieutenant was “reportedly right now in stable condition.”
He said Lt. Isaacs is also a member of the Violent Crimes Unit.
Both officers were airlifted to University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock for treatment.
Officer Collins was pronounced dead after he arrived at the hospital.
Two suspects were wounded in the gunfight with police, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Police have not yet released any information on the identities of the gunmen.
Officer Collins was a popular officer in the community and served as a mentor to at-risk boys through the Pine Bluff Police Department’s two-week Youth Empowerment Camp, The Pine Bluff Commercial reported.
He was named “Officer of the Year” at the police department’s 2017 awards banquet after he rescued a 95-year-old woman from an apartment fire.
Officer Collins, who grew up in Pine Bluff, also worked for the Arkansas Department of Corrections before he joined the Pine Bluff police force.
“I always wanted to be a police officer,” he told The Pine Bluff Commercial after he got the big award. “Ever since I was little. I saw law enforcement as a service and something I could be proud of.”
Officer Collins and his partner in the Violent Crimes Unit were credited with taking a large number of guns of the streets.
“When I took on the challenge of being a police officer, someone extended a lifeline to me,” he explained. “Some of those whose lines I pulled on are in this room tonight and I truly thank you. As I was pushed into my purpose as a police officer it was either sink or swim. Thank God I chose to swim, so it seems second nature to me and my fellow officers to extend the life line to save others.”
Arkansas State Police are taking the lead on the investigation into the officer-involved shootings, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), according to Chief Sergeant.
This is Kevin Collins — the Pine Bluff police officer killed in the line of duty today. I’m told he was beloved in the community and dedicated to his church. *Photo courtesy of New Life Church in PB* pic.twitter.com/QNGHiHLZn8
— Laura Monteverdi (@LauraMonteverdi) October 5, 2020
The Hot Springs Police Department would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Detective Kevin Collins, the Pine Bluff Police Department, and the Pine Bluff community for the loss of their officer. pic.twitter.com/cBarN1cHyY
— Hot Springs PD (AR) (@HotSpringsPD) October 5, 2020
#UPDATE: Police say three Pine Bluff officers were involved in a shooting.
Shots were fired between police & at least one suspect. Two officers were shot during that shooting.
1 officer — Kevin Collins, a 5 year veteran of the department died from his injuries, police say. pic.twitter.com/0gkJHpBvWD
— Alexis Wainwright (@AWainwrightTV) October 5, 2020
Officer Kevin Collins paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting his community & patrolling the streets of Pine Bluff. He will be remembered as a true public servant to the people of Pine Bluff. I also pray for the other officers involved in this tragic incident. @PBPoliceDept pic.twitter.com/O844fiipgn
— Leslie Rutledge (@AGRutledge) October 5, 2020
Kevin Collins saved a 95 year old woman from an apartment fire 3 years ago.
He was shot and killed today in Pine Bluff.
Rest In Peace, Hero 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/FgYIPFnqOM
— Fiery But Mostly Grayson (@graysoncoats) October 5, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Pine Bluff Police Officer Kevin Collins, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Kevin Collins, your life mattered.